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Raising the Bar at the University of Northampton:

A review of 5 years of the Changemaker initiative


2010-2015

Developing and Embedding the Changemaker Ethos


at the University of Northampton 2010-2015
We are an Ashoka U accredited Changemaker University that
believes in providing students and staff with the opportunity to
change their world for the better.
Since 2010, the University of Northampton has taken significant steps to reach its strategic
objective to become the Number 1 University in the UK for social enterprise and
entrepreneurship. Attainment of this objective became most high profile in February 2013
when the University was designated by Ashoka U as the first Changemaker Campus in the UK.
Ashoka U is the Universities branch of Ashoka, a global foundation that recognises and supports
social entrepreneurs, and the designation propelled the University into an exclusive, 30+-strong
global consortium of University leaders in social entrepreneurship education.
Since then, understanding about, and conceptions of what it means to be, both a Changemaker
Campus and an individual Changemaker have developed, deepened and evolved through
institutional-led initiatives and grassroots projects and initiatives building on the very
foundations that led to the designation in the first place. From considering ways to embed and
embody Changemaker values in the curriculum, through to extra- and co-curricula offerings to
students and opportunities for academic and professional services staff, this report charts how
our institutional Raising the Bar strategy has gathered momentum in the period from 2010-15
as we seek to develop our staff and students as agents of positive social change.
We hope that you enjoy reading this summary of our journey to date as it draws on examples of
good practice, new initiatives and projects from across the institution and, at the end, shows
how we envisage this work continuing during the period 2016-20 and beyond. More than that
however, we hope that this publication will inspire you to find out more about Changemaking at
Northampton, to start your own social enterprise initiative, consider how to build Changemaker
into your curriculum or partner with us as we seek to achieve our mission to transform lives and
inspire change.

Professor Nick Petford


Vice-Chancellor, University of Northampton
www.northampton.ac.uk

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

The Story So Far


Tim Curtis, Changemaker
tim.curtis@northampton.ac.uk

Campus

Leader

and

Senior

Lecturer

The University of Northamptons commitment is so powerful it can be seen


everywhere you look across the institution. For particular attention the panel
highlighted the University's strength in leadership, commitment to the student
experience and curriculum and its efforts to measure impact on society as a
result of this commitment. Social innovation and entrepreneurship is on every
corner at Northampton, offering a unique example of a Changemaker Campus.
This statement from Michele Leaman, marked the culmination of the process by the University
of Northampton to become recognised as Number 1 in the UK for social innovation. This goal,
articulated in the 2010-2015 strategic plan, Raising the Bar, was achieved when, in February
2013, the University was designated by Ashoka U as the first UK institution to be awarded
Changemaker Campus status, propelling us into a league of up to 30 global institutions leading
the way in social entrepreneurship education.
This designation was based on a 360 self-evaluation investigation in November 2012, an
institutional audit in December 2012, involving interviews by Ashoka U of senior staff, lecturers,
support staff and students, culminating in a 3 hour interview session with two designation
Changemaker Leaders from the University of San Diego in February 2013. The designation was
based on the innovative work in Northampton Business School in social enterprise degree
programmes, current research, support for social enterprises and significant levels across the
institution of volunteering and social action. The designation was accompanied by a report from
the Ashoka U panel which was presented to the University Management Team in order to
inform the development and embedding of the Changemaker ethos more widely across the
institution.

From Minor to Major in Social Entrepreneurship


At the Northampton Business School, the idea for a degree programme in social enterprise had
been initiated in 2007 and promoted by entrepreneurship lecturers. Initial justifications had
been made, predominantly on the basis of the currency of the term in the national discourse and
an emerging sense of social entrepreneurship as a distinctive offering for the entrepreneurship
programme.
A BA Social Enterprise Development course was created as a Joint Honours programme with 17
options, and was designed to help the student create an idea, and pitch it to funders like Unltd)
in their first year, develop a detailed business plan in year two, with the core Entrepreneurship
module New Ventures. Finally, the student is prepared to initiate their social enterprise during
their third year with a module focussing on tendering, financing and business growth. The
Enterprise in Society module emerged within the Business School programme as a vehicle
whereby sociological skills such as longitudinal studies and interview/text interpretation
strategies were used to explore the students own construction of the notion of social
enterprise, through analysis of the history of co-operative music label, Rough Trade, compared

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

to leading co-operative based social enterprise Mondragon in the Basque region of Spain. The
undergraduate and post graduate programmes were validated in summer 2009.
With some students from the BA International Development programme, the first module
Introducing Social Enterprise commenced in September 2009, with 30 students. The Unltd
collaboration resulted in the sponsorship of a module prize. Unltd initially committed to offer a
500 Level 1 award to the best social enterprise pitch from the first year class. This resulted in
three awardees who actually received an average of 1,500 to further explore their social
enterprise ideas. Three outstanding ideas benefitted overseas beneficiaries, which Unltd were
unable to fund, but the winners were instead selected for a student exchange to Beijing, China
with a British Council project. This provided invaluable cross-cultural teaching materials for the
students, and an unforgettable experience.
In the region, the University operating the Business Links contract for central government, out
of which grew programmes such as entrepreneurship classes in a local prison, and a
programme for re-training of long-term employed unemployed managers. Further, the
University Centre for Volunteering created the conditions for 29,055 hours of volunteering
activity in Northamptonshire in 2009-10 which was worth a third of a million pounds to the
local economy, creating a significant impact on the third sector.
The second round of the Introducing Social Enterprise module coincided with the launch of the
HEFCE/Unltd Dare To Be Different campaign, a 1m fund and the selection of Tim Curtis as an
HEFCE/Unltd Ambassador for Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. For the students of
the second cohort, this meant a higher profile campaign from Unltd to encourage the
presentation of ideas, and resulted in a further 3 awardees, two of whom applied for and
pitched successfully to Unltd for funding long before their assignment deadline.

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

Raising the Bar

Launched in 2010, Raising the Bar was the University Institutional Strategy to lead the direction
of the University to 2015. The bar being raised was to pitch the University as an internationally
facing University committed to delivering outstanding life changing opportunities in education,
underpinned by a culture of entrepreneurship, research, and social enterprise recognised around
the world for its originality and impact Raising the Bar, Vision Statement.
Notable in the vision is the mention of social enterprise. The Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick
Petford, recognised the significant levels of community work, volunteering and social enterprise
initiatives that had been developing since 2007, and legitimised them in the University strategy.
There was an extensive amount of activity that he recognised as socially entrepreneurial. This
included large scale activities such as the Volunteering Centre creating social impacts in the
local community and the Universitys E3 employability initiative, the School of Health Social
Welfare (now Social and Community Development) programme within the field of social work
and the Northampton Business School (NBS) social enterprise degree programmes as a very
fresh and interesting take on the commercialisation agenda in Universities in which a grass
roots thing was going on here1 .
The implementation of Northamptons Raising The Bar social enterprise strategy had three
main elements: a new student offer; the integration of social enterprise into teaching and
learning and research throughout the university; and a long-term strategic project with local
authorities, businesses, the third sector, and individual citizens throughout Northamptonshire,
delivering significant improvements to the life of the county through support for
decentralisation through social enterprise and the building of social capital.
A student offer was for all students of the University of Northampton to have the opportunity,
as part of their degree courses, to work in a social enterprise: either one that has been set up,
one that the University supports students to set up, or one operating in the local community.
There isnt any league table of social enterprise Universities in the UK or in the world, and (in
true academic style) there would have been arguments for years about what features
distinguish a social enterprise university from any other university. Ashoka U, as an institution
outside the UK and therefore independent of the UK league tables, is best placed to at least
recognise the progress that had been made in Northampton.

Interview with Professor Petford, 2012

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

Our connection with Ashoka U


Ashoka U itself is an offshoot of Ashoka, a global
foundation that recognises and supports the most effective
social entrepreneurs. Ashoka was founded in the 1980s by
Bill Drayton and has been recognised as one of the worlds
largest supporters of social entrepreneurs and innovators.
Ashoka operates in the UK alongside the millennium
foundation for social entrepreneurs, UnLtd. Ashoka U was
created in 2007 by Marina Kim and Erin Krampetz.
Ashoka Us mission is to develop social entrepreneurship in Universities, schools and colleges
by supporting institutions to make structural changes to promote everyday social
entrepreneurship behaviours. Known as the Ashoka U values, the intention is for these
behaviours to underpin actions to ensure that every student graduates:

Believing they have a responsibility to make positive changes in society


Believing they have the power and resources (tangible and intangible) to make
a difference
Taking initiative to bring about innovative change, local and systemic
Working with others to maximise impact, working in groups and networks
Knowing and living authentically according to their values
Practicing empathy; by entering, by a willed use of the imagination, another
person's world without judgement.

The Ashoka U accreditation process is based on the methodology it uses to select its 3,000
Fellows in 70 countries. It is not just about the activities that the students and staff of
universities carry out, but about the orientation and mind-set of leaders and team members.
The application to become an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus involved a 60 page report on the
activities being undertaken by the University that were relevant, including biographies of 22
staff, academics and students whose work was part of the narrative, including stories from our
own experience that explained our social entrepreneurial mind-set.
In 2009, I was principal investigator on a two-year British Council-funded
project that brought together Bournemouth University, Lagos State University
Teaching Hospital and the Niger Delta Youth Development initiative to study
the use of mosquito bed nets in the Niger Delta. Although the focus was on
health, the project also involved a more radical proposal to field-test a pop-up
mosquito net for infants designed to overcome many of the barriers to the
effective use of bed nets. When we visited Abuja to discuss the problems we had
identified and a potential solution that could not only improve the use of nets
but also provide work for locals, the UK officials we met proved uninterested.
Our idea fell on deaf ears.
Q U OTAT I O N F RO M T H E B I O G R A P H Y O F P RO F E S S O R N I C K P E T F O R D I N T H E U N I V E RS I T Y
O F N O RT H A M P TO N C H A N G E M A K E R A P P L I C AT I O N R E P O RT , 2 0 1 2

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

Changemaker Campus Award February 2013


The award came after an intensive 12-month process during which every aspect of the
Universitys social enterprise strategy, philosophy and ethos was tested; from its leadership and
culture, to its social enterprise curriculum and impact. The process culminated at the
international Ashoka U Exchange held in San Diego, USA from 20 to 23 February 2013, where
three panels of internationally respected experts interviewed the Universitys Change Leaders
Tim Curtis and Wray Irwin, and recognised the University as an exceptional Changemaker
Campus.

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

Implementing the Changemaker ethos


Tim Curtis

The strategy to mainstream the Changemaker ethos through 2013/14 comprised of four
elements, designed to implement the advice from Ashoka U on institutional strategies and to
secure the advantage created by the designation:
1. Change the language: The Raising the Bar strategy only mentions 'social
enterprises'. This was too narrow to resonate in all the University Schools, and was
focussed only on the end point of processes of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Designation as a Changemaker campus signalled a wider language of
changemaking covering social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social
ventures.
2. Access a consortium of like-minded Universities: Ashoka U is a group of
universities (up to 30 in around the world) who support Ashokas aims and are
recognised for their efforts. In 2013, we were the first and only University in the UK
to join this group and share in their knowledge and experience.
3. Establish a Changemakers core group: this was a network of students, staff and
academics across every part of the University who understood and were
enthusiastic about the contribution of social innovation to the University strategy.
4. Create a co-curriculum Certificate: a structured and collaborative learning
process to explore a social problem and devise innovative solutions, ready for
implementation. This could be any sort of initiative or venture, focussed on solving
social problems. This is supported by a set of resources at
www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker which encourages and supports students
and staff to become changemakers. At the core of it is the Changemaker Certificate
and a series of events and activities.

Changemaker Core Group


Developing the Changemaker strategy sits with the Changemaker Core Group. Originally an
informal collection of interested parties, the group has subsequently formalised both its
membership and function. Now representing every University department and function, as well
as the Students Union, the group is chaired by a senior management leader, and attended by the
Vice Chancellor and a Governor. This influencing groups purpose is to create:
Visibility:- within the university branding guidelines define a campaign to build the
Change Maker Campus offer and profile
www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

Motivation:- connect the Changemaker Campus ethos throughout the Universitys


student supply chain, from feeder schools through to alumni; raising awareness of
the Everyone a Changemaker campaign and furthering understanding as to what
this means in practice.
Engagement:- continue to build an engagement programme for students around
Changemaker ideals and concepts. This includes engagement through the
curriculum as well as wider student activity; aligning resources to maximise levels
of involvement with ownership of activities across the institution.
Support:- continue to build support for student and staff innovation at every level;
from understanding problems to effecting change. Building on existing activity,
realigning the existing offer to maximise learning and returns from investments.
Success:- celebrate success, encourage students to promote their success on a
global stage; engaging through the Ashoka U network and beyond, building a
student profile and accessing international support funding.
Since its inception, the Core Group has discussed, agreed upon and promoted a number of
initiatives across the University. Most significantly for the purposes of this report, these include:
A Changemaker Certificate available free to all staff, students, alumni, and our
Education With Others (EWO) partners helping them to develop Changemaker skills
and behaviours, and evidencing their progress
Changemaker modules (Developing Enterprising Communities, Changemakers
and other Entrepreneurship classes) reaching over 300 students in one academic
year
Changemaker Week 2014 and 2015 reaching 885 individual students,
An MA in Social Innovation and Business School Modules in Social Enterprise
dating back to 2010
Complete Programme revalidation informed by Changemaker principles: Positive
Psychology
EmbedCM project run by The Institute of Learning and Teaching
Helped to create the Student Union Planet Too Changemaker initiative securing
over 250,000 of external funding
Creating two International Changemaker Summer Schools with university
partners
Hosting an International Social Innovation Research Conference and UK-wide
symposium on critical theory approaches to social entrepreneurship in 2014.
The Core Group have also promoted the University at home and abroad:
Ashoka U Social Innovation Faculty Institute. The American College of Greece,
Athens. 20-21st May 2014
Symposium on Higher Education and Social Entrepreneurship A creative response
to the developing needs of the 21st Century? Sunley Conference Centre,
Northampton 15th May 2014

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

10

Culture, Leadership and Structure for Social Innovation Institutionalization. The


New Scholar: Ashoka U Exchange, Feb 20-22 2014 Brown University, RI, USA
When Changemaker and Employability Met Education The New Scholar: Ashoka U
Exchange, February 26 28, 2015 University of Maryland, Washington DC, USA
Changemaker Student AwardA Model for Cultivating Change? The New Scholar:
Ashoka U Exchange, Feb 20-22 2014 Brown University, RI, USA
Synergos Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in Universities in Central Asia,
Kyrgystan National University, Bishkek, Kyrgystan 18-20th November 2014
ReImagining Learning: In conversation with Northampton University. Ashoka and
Pearson invited conversations. 13th Jan 2014. Pearson plc, London.
Students from the University of Northampton were the only UK participants in a
global student Changemaker summit in San Diego in April 2015

The Ashoka U Renewal process


The membership of Ashoka U is contingent on regular renewal, following a 3 to 5 year cycle.
While this renewal process is still under development by Ashoka U, preparations are already
underway to ensure that the University retains the designation as a Changemaker Campus, of
which it is rightfully proud.

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

11

Changemaker in the Curriculum


Rachel Maxwell, Head of Learning and Teaching Development, Institute of
Learning and Teaching rachel.maxwell@northampton.ac.uk

Engaging our students with Changemaker has taken a number of different forms depending on
whether or not the initiative sits within or outside the curriculum. From developing an extracurricula employability offering, to projects seeking to explore conceptions of Changemaker
with the student body, or support for student-led initiatives recognised in the inaugural
Changemaker Awards dinner in October 2015, significant foundations have been laid in
ensuring that in the near future, no student at Northampton will graduate without having had at
least one meaningful engagement with the Changemaker ethos.
Responsibility for embedding the Changemaker ethos into curricula sits with the University
Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (ILT). This small team continues to lead
a number of projects that have moved from exploring staff and student conceptions of
Changemaker through to projects that seek to implement a cross-institutional approach to
ensuring that all Northampton students have a recognised entitlement to engage with
Changemaker through their academic studies. Work in this area can be summarised in the
following 10 challenges2:
Challenge 1: To understand what Changemaker means to the University of Northampton
Challenge 2: To nurture a shared discourse around Changemaker in the curriculum
Challenge 3: To develop a point of reference for understanding the alignment between
Changemaker and employability
Challenge 4: To develop a theoretical model to underpin curriculum design and redesign
Challenge 5: To develop tools and resources to support curriculum design and redesign
Challenge 6: To pilot the theoretical model, tools and resources in the design and redesign of
academic programmes
Challenge 7: To confirm the Universitys approach to curriculum design for Changemaker
through staff development workshops and Change of Approval processes
Challenge 8: To update quality assurance policy and procedures for new programme
approval (Validation) and approval of changes to existing programmes (Change
of Approval)
Challenge 9: To propose a sustainable approach to curriculum design for Changemaker
Challenge 10: To continue to find ways to share good practice towards embedding social
innovation across the higher education curriculum

Embed CM
http://www.northamptonilt.com/changemakerinthecurriculum
In an effort to develop a model of learning and teaching for Changemaker that is relevant and
impactful to the learners and teachers at Northampton and to embody the Everyone a
Changemaker concept across the disciplines and in different levels of study, the Institute of
Learning and Teaching commenced a project to develop its own conceptual framework. In
2

These challenges were originally articulated in the CEESI report: Alden Rivers and Maxwell (2015).

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

12

seeking to understand the Ashoka values in the Northampton context, a phenomenographic


study of 30 academic staff. Findings from this study suggested that academic staff understand
Changemaker in five qualitatively different ways, which nevertheless overlap and relate to each
other:

Changemaker as institutional strategy


Changemaker as critical thinking, perspective shifting and problem solving
Changemaker as enhancing employability
Changemaker as social betterment
Changemaker as personal transformation

A number of resources have been produced as a mechanism for sharing understanding and
good practice (Challenge 2). Most significantly, these include a publication of cases studies on
Changemaker in the Curriculum, some further video case studies and an associated web area.
This phase was followed by a thematic literature review that sought to better understand the
human attributes associated with being a Changemaker and their connection with employability
(Challenge 3). A set of 15 attributes emerged from this study
Self-confidence

Perseverance

Values-driven

Internal locus of control

Self-awareness

Leadership

Action orientation

Innovation and creativity

Problem solving

Critical thinking

Empathy

Emotional intelligence

Reflectivity

Communication

Social intelligence

This research provided a strong foundation for the next, small-scale project looking at ways to
situate this work in educational theory, enhance the curriculum for employability and social
innovation and develop tools and resources to support the learning and teaching of social
innovation and social impact: CEESI.

CEESI Curriculum Enhancement for Employability and Social Innovation


(Challenges 4 and 5)
In March 2015, the University received funding from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) as
part of its Strategic Enhancement Programme looking at Employability. In seeking to embed
employability and changemaking across the disciplines in a meaningful way, the project
provided opportunities to develop an integrated model of graduate attributes and outcomes for
employability; engage staff and students in a pilot programme of curriculum enhancement so as
to trial the model; share good practice and develop a toolkit for use both within and without the
institution through collaboration with the HEA.
In seeking to understand what embedding Changemaker into the curriculum might look like in
practice, and to ground our work in accepted educational theory, the CEESI project outlined a
theoretical framework for considering learning design and proposed an extension to an existing
model of learning theories.
The full CEESI report can be downloaded at: www.northampton.ac.uk/ilt/publications
www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

13

Changemaker Outside the Curriculum


Wray Irwin, Head of the Centre for Employability and Engagement, and Change
Leader. wray.irwin@northampton.ac.uk

The Changemaker ethos and activities enhance the graduate employability of University of
Northampton students by specifically focussing on delivering the most important skills to
develop in employees to drive company growth identified by the Flux Report
Leadership skills 62%
Interpersonal skills 53%
Resilience 43%

Management skills 62%


Innovation and creativity 45%

The objective is to ensure that graduates are able to evidence what they have done to
implement those skills, and implement those skills for public benefit. The Changemaker ethos
also focuses on the creativity and problem solving skills of the graduates by presenting global
social and environmental problems to be tackled and developing innovative solutions to tackle
those problems. The best of those ideas are taken forward initially via the Enterprise Club, and
then subsequently with Inspire to Enterprise. It is through these support mechanisms that ideas
are explored, prototypes trialled and, if possible, developed into operational enterprises or
behaviour-change initiatives.
This Big Ideas Bonanza funded 20,000 of initiatives in 2010, 64,000 in 2011, 57,000 in
2012 and 34,000 in 2013, as the funding was switched to the new Social Venture Builder
programme which offers support, funding and access to the MA in Social Innovation.
Some examples of the former include:

Resile (an online counselling service for students making use of the internet to
connect counsellor with counsellee)
Idid Adventure (an organisation enabling people with additional support needs to
participate in extreme sporting activities),
Tap the Table Productions which is a theatrical production company which
specialises in the tragicomedy genre, encourage audience members to seek help
with regard to their mental health issues regardless of how minor they may seem ,
and to encourage those not suffering from mental health issues to support those
who do.
Forest@UN, a Forest School aiming to tackle the lack of access to play spaces and
the natural environment, by allowing children to learn within a safe, natural,
woodland environment. Forest@UN has already been used by students from
Eastfield Academy, who will be making several return each term.
Ghostdavandal Originals Ltd, a customization company delivering creative
workshops within the community, schools and youth centres. Their initiatives
Lemon Pop Workshops and Customize Ur Life, are aimed at raising cultural
awareness and learning vital transferrable skills that are necessary for selfdevelopment.

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

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www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

15

The Changemaker Student Offering


Wray Irwin and Tim Curtis

This section of the report charts the various extra-curriculum offerings available to students.

The Changemaker Life Hack


http://northampton.net-positive.org/
The starting point for every student arriving at the University is the Changemaker LifeHack3.
This is a quick diagnostic tool that gets the student thinking about their passions and interests
and signposts them to the dozens of activities and services that the University, Students Union
and the town already provide. They can create a personalised action plan which guides them to
the use of campus facilities and societies as well as affecting on their personal social and
environmental impacts
Thereafter, there are two co-curricular routes that can be taken: Employability Plus and the
Changemaker Certificate. The former of these comprises the institutional employability offer
available to all University students, whereas the Certificate is largely achieved by persons with a
particular interest in social innovation and who are actively seeking to make and implement
changes in the world around them. It should also be noted that some students will experience a
stronger opportunity to be awarded the Certificate as it also exists as a curriculum module
residing on a small number of award maps. Members of staff at the University can also work
towards and be awarded the Certificate at either Bronze, Silver or Gold levels.

Employability Plus
http://bit.ly/ucee-welcome
The University of Northampton is committed to developing graduates who are not only
qualified to get their first graduate job but who have also developed the skills they need to
progress through that job and move onto new opportunities. With a strong set of employability
skills, a graduate has a secure base for any career changes in the future.
Employability Plus is a points-based system for students to develop their employability skills
and experience. The Changemaker Hub works with students throughout their degree to
develop and enhance employability skills. Finishing university with a good degree is great,
graduating with a well-rounded and complete set of employability skills is even better. There
are a wide variety of additional opportunities to develop these skills including volunteering
opportunities, work placements, internships, part time jobs and the opportunity to become a
University Ambassador. Students are then supported to evidence these skills through their CV,
job applications and interviews.

http://northampton.net-positive.org The Changemaker Life Hack has been developed in partnership


with NETpositive Futures Ltd.
3

www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

16

All students at the University of Northampton can take part in Employability Plus. Employability
Plus is unique to the University of Northampton and provides the opportunity to gain more than
just a good degree. It incentivises, rewards and recognises a students investment in activities
taken part in outside of the degree programme; supporting them to Give More, Get More, Be
More.

The Changemaker Certificate


www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker
The Changemaker Certificate operates alongside Employability Plus as an online resource to
help the participant turn their passion, experience or interest in social issues into a viable
venture or solution, and experiment with it whilst at University. The student can flip between
Employability Plus and the CM certificate to access the different resources and learning
opportunities. A student might start with employability in mind, and progress toward social
action, or might start with a passion for social or environmental action and then find new
employment opportunities from that experience. They start at any time, and complete on
graduation.
Launched formally in Changemaker Week 2015, the Certificate already has over 180
participants, including staff, students and community members all working on their own
Changemaker venture.
The Certificate materials explains that a Changemaker venture addresses a specific inequality,
social injustice, form of oppression or deprivation, over and above the normal mission/objective
of the institution/team, inclusive of the voice and efforts of those benefiting from the initiative"
covering one or more of these themes "health and wellbeing, safety and resilience, equalities
and inclusion, environmental sustainability, financial literacy/economic inclusion, or lifelong
learning and skills". The venture does not need to be a business: it could be an event, an activity,
a demonstration, a prototype, a policy, or a change of behaviour.
The Changemaker Certificate is a co-curriculum elearning resource that is freely available to
staff, students and alumni of the University to explore social and environmental problems that
they encounter and develop the skills, knowledge and networks to begin to solve those
problems. It was designed as a cross university initiative, with representation from every School
and was validated in a Change of Approval process in November 2012 as a zero-credit weighted
award. It operates separately from the UMF framework and from the academic timetable and
semester structure, but has been designed and validated according to the same standards,
benchmarked to the QAA Enterprise and Entrepreneurship education and Education for
Sustainable Development guidance. The Certificate is available to all students and staff as soon
as they begin at University and can be worked on at any time, with a portfolio style Venture
Canvas submission point before the summer graduations each year. Participants work towards
threshold levels rather than A-F grades defined by a preset rubric. Broadly speaking, Bronze
participants are exploring and learning about social innovation and changemaking, Silver
participants are experimenting and refining their solutions and Gold students are delivering and
succeeding on their work.
In summer 2015, the Universitys first Gold Changemaker Certificate awardee, Stephanie Nixon,
was presented to the Changemaker Core group and approved. Below are examples of just a few
www.northampton.ac.uk/changemaker

17

of the projects that have been developed under the Changemaker certificate (which was
formally launched in October 2014) and the predecessor modules and initiatives.

Abi is a business student. She sees that her brother and mum are struggling to
understand his homework and realises that there is no service that connects
parents, pupils and teachers around homework. She presents an idea of Homework
Hub, and receives 500 initial funding from Unltd to explore the idea more. She
implements the Homework Hub website and gets lots of interest from schools to
develop and implement her initiative. When she graduates, she has to get a job and
therefore development on Homework Hub is not progressed.

Vanessa is a community development student. In her first year, her baby brother
Kabel dies soon after birth and her mum is unable to pay for a memorial. She
recruits her classmates to volunteer to raise funds, and does so for several other
mums in the same hospital. She spends her second year running the charity Friends
of Kabel she has set up and wants to make this a national charity. Vanessa has to get
a job when she graduates, but her charity needs to grow more before she can get a
salary from running it.

Emmas fianc has aspergers, but not severe enough to receive funding for respite
care. Emma wants to help start a charity to help young carers. She is doing so with
the local library services but needs a little seed funding to get started and access
larger funding streams.

Ahmed is a Somali student. He wants to help his children with their English
homework, but he doesnt know what synthetic phonics is and how it works in
Arabic. Ahmed devised a plan for a website to explain through Arabic how synthetic
phonics works and how parents can help their children.

Li is a Chinese international student. In her first year Changemaker module she


explores the social and environmental issues that students experience. She notices
that her fellow Chinese students are dissatisfied with the type and quality of food
being provided on campus, to the point of ordering take-ways to be delivered on
campus. She considers various solutions, like an Asian chef, buying in take-out from
local restaurants. After several iterations she begins to work with the campus
restaurant to design and trial a menu that would work for all stakeholders.

First year Chantiece uses survey methodology to establish that only 36% of students
know about the counselling and pastoral services on campus despite the fact that
79% of those who have used the service rated in good. She plans to design and
deliver a media campaign on campus to raise awareness, reduce stigma and develop
a better awareness of mental health issues on campus.

Danielle and eastern European student Anastasia identify food poverty as a national
student problem, and work together in a team to network across the university,
speaking to Residential Life staff and Students Union colleagues to design and
deliver during their second year a volunteer cookery classes to first years students,
specifically designed around the skills of the students and the constraints of cooking
in a student flat.

These are just a few of dozens of staff and students who are working on the Changemaker
Certificate, developing their initial ideas about and experiences of social problems into solutions
that are well researched and have experimental evidence of success. Currently, we have a dozen
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or more distinct ideas and projects being developed, with robust evaluation processes to ensure
that they are good ideas and solutions.
The objective of the Changemaker Certificate is to engage all of our students and staff in
exploring and developing solutions to social problems, becoming the UKs largest social
innovation funnel, with ~20,000 people involved every year developing ideas and solutions. A
future step to implement that vision is a Challenge Fund that supports the Changemakers (those
who reach silver or gold standard) to implement their idea, especially after graduation. This
fund could be a mix of funding or mentorship from our alumni and philanthropists, but
effectively gives a year for our best graduates to implement their plans.

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GOLD Changemaker Certificate


Stephanie Nixon, Gold awardee 2014/15

Stephanie (left), a third year Criminology student, became the first ever recipient of the
University of Northamptons Changemaker Gold Certificate in
2015. Stephanies Changemaker project was created to help
students with autism, by offering a mentoring scheme to provide
support and advice.

through her project.

At the Award Ceremony, Stephanie said: I believe that the


Changemaker Certificate programme is making a real difference to
students. It has given me many networking opportunities, and
alternative avenues to help students with autism adjust to the
transition of starting university. Following her graduation in
2015, Stephanie will be undertaking the LLM in Legal Practice
course part-time at the University, while supporting other students

SILVER Changemaker Certificate


Zeena Abou-Jaoude Wilson, Silver awardee 2015/16

Zeena (left) uses her voice as an advocate through


awareness campaigns to change the attitude of society
in Ghana towards the exploitation of twins in the act of
street begging, by partnering with various stake holders
working on behalf of children. She introduced the Twins
Gifting Project with the aim of providing basic
provisions to twins and their families who are
struggling to survive on the streets.
With her twin sister, she founded The Ghana Twins
Foundation,
a
non-governmental
organisation
promoting the social and economic well-being of deprived and needy twins in the Ghanaian
society, and supporting parents facing challenges raising twins and multiple-birth children. Its
objective is to increase awareness of the special needs of twins and promote their rights.

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Around the University


Centre for Achievement and Performance
Elizabeth Palmer

The Centre for Achievement and Performance (CfAP) have been re-conceptualising Library and
Learning Service (LLS) teaching and learning resources and approach in the light of the core
institutional directives for Employability and Changemaker. One of the key aims for the project
has been to seek ways of making the values from these two areas more visible to students in
their own provision. In addition, they have ensured that they were modelling and promoting
Changemaker ways of being, ways of working to encourage student ownership and the
development of skills such as strategy analysis and perspective taking. CfAP are seeking to
empower students by promoting transferable thinking from their academic development to
their professional identity and even more so, to think of themselves as agents of change in their
communities. In the collective conversations between the three teams (CfAP, Employability and
Changemaker) CfAP started by developing a core set of language that indicates key attributes,
such as empathy, integrity and
authenticity. These have been
utilised to reshape both CfAP
and other LLS Teaching and
Learning resources toward
addressing these values and
attributes directly.
A pack (illustrated right) on
working together on a group
assignment
now
directly
addresses empathy, integrity
and negotiation. CfAP are also
shifting the tone of the
resources towards not just the
tangible skill the student is
acquiring but also the purpose
and context. Study guides and
info-graphics
are
being
developed which target these
values
and
attributes
throughout and which will
eventually be hyperlinked to a
glossary and cross-referenced
to other teams resources. In
time, e-tivities and videos will
also be developed.

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Student Union
Victor Agboola

Planet Too Week 2014 introduced hundreds of new and returning students to the sustainability
project, designed to create pro-environmental behaviours and reduce the carbon footprint of
our members. Planet Too Week followed the Students Unions first Volunteer Conference,
which saw 320 of its volunteers from Sports, Societies, Planet Too and other student volunteer
groups come together as a collective to further learn about their roles, but also develop their
personal and employability skills.

Science and Technology


John Sinclair

Environmental Science students volunteer with a range of local wildlife and conservation
organisations and also gain experience of undertaking environmental audits within social
enterprises and other businesses.
Computing and Engineering staff have again been active in supporting Nuffield Bursary projects
for talented 6th form students who aspire to be scientists and/or technologists.
Staff and students from across the School engaged in a wide variety of outreach and aspirationraising STEM activities during 2013/14, including National Science and Engineering Week
activities, Women into Science and Engineering workshops and Summer Schools.

Library and Learning Services


Chris Powis

The Library and Learning Services department have been working with two Northamptonbased organisations Olympus Care Services and Diversiti UK (on their Breaking down the
Barriers project) to provide placements for people who have been struggling to find work.
They have run successful reading groups for organisations in Northampton for some time
including at the YWCA, CANS and a Womens refuge and they have recently expanded groups to
Anchor House (MIND). Groups are facilitated by LLS staff but hosted and supported in the
community. LLS also continue to work with local schools (Castle and St Marys) on the Story
Seekers project which gives students the opportunity to promote reading in a school setting.

School of Social Sciences


Graham Micthell

The Division of Psychology is engaging with the Universitys Ashoka U Changemaker agenda by
offering a new first year undergraduate module in Positive Psychology and revalidating its
programme with Changemaker ethos formally embedded in the core design documents. The
core study area for this module is the 'Values in Action' catalogue of virtues and character
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strengths. One of Positive Psychologys central tenets is that well-being can best be achieved
through the development of positive character strengths. This contrasts with more traditional
approaches in Psychology that seek to target pathologies and deficits. Positive Psychologys
Values in Action character strengths resonate totally with the Changemaker + values and
behaviours. As a result, this new module will be used to platform our employability and
Changemaker agendas for first year students.
Students will encounter a number of different topics from a Positive Psychology perspective.
These topics include stress and resilience, health and happiness, work satisfaction, spirituality,
relationships, and optimal performance and achievement.

School of The Arts


Vicki Dean

Several projects across media, fashion and product design which will culminate in an exhibition
called "Change maker in May 2015 at Northampton museum and art gallery.
Two British council funded projects which are around 'making ' as heritage - narratives of value,
meaning, identity from objects, making , dialogues and community.
The School of The Arts will be running two symposiums in the UK hosting delegates from India
and Turkey bringing together, arts media design and engineering academics and industry to
explore and debate the above issues. Students across the globe will gain an understanding of
the importance of each other's disciplines can play alongside an awareness of how to be a
change 'maker'.
The project will draw upon each countries heritage, culture and local conditions and social issue
alongside an understanding how they can be a change maker. The Indian project is based in
Gandigar, Gandhi's hometown and discussions around at how heritage skills and craft can
transform communities into a sustainable future.

UN TV
Ian Wallace

The Media and Journalism programme team are working on developing an online TV channel/s
UonTV) and also trained a community development student to film the Social innovation
conference earlier in 2014. This initiative ties in with a student production team called Become
the Media which aims to assist students get creative industries experience through internal and
external project briefs, develop their CV and portfolio, and allows them to graduate with up to
date referees, having access to a dedicated web page hosting all their information, and work for
at least one year after graduation.

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Changemaker School Students Award Programme


Jane Badger-Jones

Changemaker Students Award Programme is a National Award sponsored by The University of


Northampton as an Ashoka U Changemaker campus. It provides an interactive pathway for
groups of students (i.e. school councils) to plan, develop, initiate and support positive change
within their school community. The Changemaker values of empathy and responsibility
underpin the awards with clear principles of working together to within shared values to make
a difference and empower change.
The Changemaker Student Award offers a simple
framework to support positive change as an integral part of the school and community life. It
can enhance the curriculum and wider life skills as students make choices, seek solutions and
make a positive contribution to the school community. These awards celebrate students ability
to be advocates of change and to develop skills and knowledge of social enterprise. The
Changemaker Student Award offers opportunities for the students voice to be heard and
actioned in a meaningful, relevant and innovative approach. Students will have the opportunity
to develop the skills of employability and support them personally to widening horizons.

Human Resources
Deborah Mattock

Since February 2013, the HR department significantly enhanced the induction and professional
development of the staff of the university through:
Staff Orientation (for all staff). Usually this is a 30 minute session delivered by
various staff

Focusing on Delivery - this is a half-day session (that all staff have to attend) and
we discuss Changemaker at the end for 15-20 minutes.

Thriving in a Changing Environment - this is a half-day session (that all staff have
to attend) and we discuss Changemaker at the end for 15-20 minutes.
Changemaker is discussed during three elements of staff orientation.

Usually for each session this consists of an overview of what it is, background and what it means
to a member of university staff.

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Future Vision

The features provided in this report demonstrate just a few of the initiatives and developments
that have taken place in response to the designation in 2013 by Ashoka U of the University of
Northampton as a Changemaker Campus. We are proud to have been the first in the UK, but also
glad to welcome Glasgow Caledonian University and Dublin City University as the other Ashoka
U campuses in the EU. More Universities are getting involved as the network expands to Latin
America, Australasia and to Europe.
People move on, though. Key people retire, like retired Dean of the School of Health, Sue Allen,
or move on like former Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Chris Moore. Both were
instrumental in helping getting Changemaker on the agenda and keeping it there. Many other
people have moved and shifted roles within the University. The next steps for the University is
to go beyond the individuals and projects to the systems change- embedding Changemakerness
into daily activities.
The first step of that is the
publication of the new 2015-2020
University Strategy Transforming
Lives and Inspiring Change. This
marks a return to the foundation
document of the University and its
long-term vision. Nothing has
changed for the University, in that
transforming lives and inspiring
change has always been there - more
often as a strap line on a University
document rather than as a deliberate
strategy. The return of this mission
signals that Changemaker is the
universal terminology that shows
how transforming lives and inspiring change is achieved- through social innovation, creativity
and deliberately training our graduates in 21st century employment skills, as well as immersing
them in a professional or vocational environment.
With the closure of one institutional strategy (Raising the Bar) and the introduction of a new
one (Transforming Lives , Inspiring Change) the work to consistently embed Changemaker in the
Curriculum continues. Currently, this is taking the form primarily of the ChANGE project:
Changemaking at Northampton for Graduate Employability. In a nutshell, this project seeks to
ensure that all students receive an entitlement to engage with Changemaker, employability and
digital literacy skills, behaviours, capabilities and attributes through their curriculum, primarily
through a redefinition of the key skills framework in the University Modular Framework
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governing programme and module design and operationalised through learning outcomes and
assessments, and through implementation of the zone of pedagogical praxis via programme and
module learning and teaching strategies.

The new strategy has been accompanied by a restructuring of the university, with new Faculties
gathered around four new Changemaker challenges. The key activities going forward seem to
be:

Embedding Changemaker ethos and skills into the design of new programmes
through the CAIeRO workshops and through learning outcomes in every module-in
the ChANGE project
A celebration of the most socially innovative programmes and awarding them Gold,
Silver and Bronze awards for their impact on society
With a good support infrastructure in place, developing the ability of the students to
develop and implement their solutions to the student experience challenges

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Changemaker Core Group and Network


The Changemaker Core Group are a network of staff and students across the whole of the
University who are particularly involved in developing and implementing the vision of the
university as a Changemaker Campus. They are experts in the fields and are open to be
approached for any question about Changemaker. The membership of this group varies
according to the needs of the University.
Here are the people involved in the Changemaker Network in 2015/6: they are your first port of
call to find out about Changemaker in your School or Professional Service:
Becky Craven, Vice President Student Experience, University of Northampton Students Union
Chris Durkin, Associate Professor, Head of Northampton Institute of Urban Affairs, Programme
Leader for the MA Social Innovation, School of Social Sciences
Chris Powis, Head of Library and Learning Services
Clair Culverhouse, , Human Resources - Business Partnering
Deborah Mattock, Director of Human Resources
Doug Rae, Deputy Dean, School of Social Sciences
Gill Gourlay, Senior Lecturer, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Northampton Business School
Hugh Davenport Leadership and Human Resource Management, Northampton Business School
Rachel Maxwell, Head of Learning and Teaching Development: Policy and Practice, Institute of
Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
Jo Williams, Human Resources
June Charlton-Hughes, Human Resources
Kate Robinson, Volunteers Support Officer, University Centre for Employability and
Engagement
Mairi Watson, Deputy Dean Development, Northampton Business School
Nick Woodward Vice President for Engagement and Participation, University of Northampton
Students Union
Peter Wells, Deputy Dean, School of Education
Pole Simon, PlanetToo Co-ordinator, Students Union
Stuart Allen, Leader in Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, School of Health
Tim Curtis, Senior Lecturer, Community Development, Changemaker Lead, School of Health
Vicki Dean, Principal Lecturer in International Development, School of The Arts
Victor Agboola, President, University of Northampton Students Union
Wray Irwin, Director of University Centre for Employability and Engagement

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Copyright: University of
Northampton
All Rights Reserved, 2016
University of Northampton
Park Campus
Boughton Green Road
Northampton
NN2 7AL
Northamptonshire
United Kingdom
www.northampton.ac.uk

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